September 22, 2013 12:07 AM
"Full of honors, and with clean hands, he was ending, radiantly, his good life, surrounded by his family in which all his affections were centered." (Balzac)
Fred Percal, devoted husband, father, and grand father; friend to many; and longtime local businessman, passed away at age 93 on September 8 at Cottage Hospital.
Fred was born to Sam Percal and Alice Schnitzer on December 10, 1919, in Santa Barbara. Alice passed away when he was five, and Fred and his sister, Fay, were raised by their stepmother, Ruth. Fred worked at Percal's Poultry, his parents' business at 827 E. Montecito Street, from an early age, attending Franklin School, SB Jr. High and SB High. He enlisted in the US Army and served in Europe during World War II.
Stationed in Brussels (Belgium) at the end of the war, he met his beloved Gela, a displaced Holocaust survivor born in Poland. After a short courtship, they married in Brussels. Gela arrived in the US on a ship full of war brides and took a train cross-country to Santa Barbara, where they embarked on their life together. Married for 68 years, Fred and Gela were active members of Congregation B'nai B'rith in Santa Barbara, which his father had helped found. After selling Percal's Poultry in the 1970s, Fred and Gela managed their local real estate business. Fred was also a passionate hobbyist. He enjoyed, successively, boating, photography, travel, long-distance bicycling, wood-carving, and computers. Reading a manual, he could master any technique.